Caught In The Middle

My sister’s wedding is less than a month away. She sent out her invitations a few weeks ago. Because our grandfather lives with our uncle, she sent one invitation to our uncle and included our grandfather in the invitation. We have two aunts in Taiwan who already told my sister months ago that they will not be able to attend the wedding, so my sister didn’t send them invitations. Our grandfather will also be in Taiwan during the wedding, so he will not be attending either.

A few days ago, my mom got word (from our other aunt, I think) that our two aunts and our grandfather didn’t get invitations, so she called my sister to tell her to send invitations to them. For some reason (maybe a traditional Chinese culture thing), my grandfather is expected to have a separate invitation, and our two aunts are supposed to  receive invitations because they’re family.

Because wedding invitations are expensive, my sister didn’t order any extras. In order to send the additional invitations, she had to ask some of her close friends to give back their invitations and explain why. I don’t think my mom understands the huge hassle it is to send these invitations (even when they will definitely be declining).

If it was just a matter of family respect, then it’s almost understandable why they need to have invitations. It’s a hassle, but we all have family obligations. But there’s more to the story.

My sister’s dad is my mom’s first husband (so technically, my sister is my half-sister). My sister’s dad’s family hurt my grandfather’s pride many years ago (the story is far too long to discuss here), so our grandfather refuses to attend the wedding because my sister’s dad will be there.

Apparently, when my mom told my sister to send the additional invitations, she repeated that “your dad hurt your grandfather very badly” (in Chinese) at least ten times. It also seems like our two aunts in Taiwan are not attending for the same reason. If they can’t attend my sister’s wedding, that’s fine, but does she need to know that they’re not attending because of her dad?

My sister has been dwelling on her conversation with my mom for days. She told me this whole story online last night and said she couldn’t stop crying, so I called her to try and comfort her (not that there’s much I can do).

She feels bad for what happened, but she can’t change the past. She feels like she’s forever being punished for events that happened over thirty-five years ago that have nothing to do with her. Obviously, none of what happened is her fault; she’s just unfortunately caught in the middle.

She can’t understand why our grandfather and our aunts can’t put the past behind them to attend her wedding. After all, the wedding has nothing to do with her dad. The wedding is about her and her fiance. It’s a once in a lifetime event. My sister is the first grandchild and the first to get married, but she feels like she’s not worth making the sacrifice for. She made a very valid comparison: If she were to pass away (which won’t be for a long time, knock on wood), would they even attend her funeral if her dad is there?

She’s afraid that she’ll be thinking about all this during her wedding, which should be one of the happiest days of her life. Whenever she talks like this (which happens every so often after she talks to my mom), it breaks my heart. There’s nothing I can do. I can’t change the past either. Our family can’t let go of what happened, and the only person who suffers from the whole thing is her.

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3 Responses to “Caught In The Middle”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Family is very important, to be sure. But at the same time…. these people are being mean-hearted and petty. I don’t care what happened, or why, or how long ago it was.

    I have had family that acted like that. People that have been exclusionary or hurtful to me, over stuff that has nothing to do with me. I decided a long time ago that people who are willing to act that way aren’t worth the heartache they caused. I can’t make some of my mom’s relatives, who haven’t send me a Christmas card or a wedding or baby shower invitation since my mom died, make me feel like they still care a lick about me, and I can’t make my grandma (actually, my grandpa’s second wife, who is only a grandma in name) realize how hurtful it is that she would continually remind me of the one misunderstanding my grandfather and I had (years before he died) and how disappointed he said he was in me, before the misunderstanding was cleared up. I just don’t have the energy for that negativity.

    It’s sad, but I can only be as much as I can be, and I can’t own others’ actions. I hope your sister can come to terms with these people, and even be brave enough to not humor them with expensive invitations.

  2. maplesyrup21 Says:

    that’s sad

  3. Amy Says:

    Family dynamics are complicated. I’m glad though, that you and your sister seem so close. Remember this when you get mad at a family member!


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